Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review of Once (Broadway in Chicago at Oriental Theatre)

Once upon a time I went to show, and it was called Once. It was directed by John Tiffany. It was about a girl named Girl (Dani de Waal) and guy named Guy (Stuart Ward) and they fell in love because of music. The guy used to be a street performer and Girl really liked his music. So Girl said that she wanted him to fix her vacuum cleaner. So she took him to a music shop where she told Guy she played piano. It is about how music can make people love and how you should just play music and music shouldn't be a chore. It is called Once because not everything turns out that great, but once upon a time these two people once were in love. The people who wrote the musical (Enda Walsh, John Carney, Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová) think that Girl and Guy's relationship was good for that time and they are happy that they at least got that time to be in love.

When you walk into the theatre you see a bunch of people on stage playing music. Even before the show is starting, the actors are playing music. And there were a lot of people from the audience who were on stage hearing them playing. That told me that it was going to be kind of interactive, but I was wrong. Girl came through the audience for her first entrance, but mostly everybody was in the world of the play. I wish that everybody in the audience could have fit on stage. It seems like a play that is small for a big theatre. I think that the set (designed by Bob Crowley) did help make you feel like you were in a smaller theatre. It felt very comfortable and it was also very cool because you could see the actors from all angles no matter where you were because there were mirrors all over the stage.

One of my favorite songs was "Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy." It was a really funny song and it was about how Guy was in love with Girl but he couldn't marry her. He was also kind of being mean to himself because he was saying, "I haven't done much with my life but I just have to keep on living." That part isn't funny, but the song is really funny because it is so ridiculous. It was also how he played it and sung it. He kept changing moods: sometimes he was a cowboy; sometimes he was a rock man. Sometimes he sang very high; sometimes he sang very low. And sometimes he was just all over the place.

Here is some stuff that I thought wasn't really needed in the play. The first thing is that the dancing I thought was kind of unnecessary. I thought that it wasn't really needed because the dancing was so rare that it just felt unnatural. Dance is about expressing your feelings through movement, but I thought they were expressing themselves enough in other kinds of ways, in acting and singing and playing music. The story is not about dancing; it is about music and how music can bring together so many relationships.

There was a scene I also thought they could have changed. It was the scene when they first met the banker. I thought that it seemed like what would happen if you just turned on Disney channel. It was like something that would "pretend happen" everyday. It was not something that would happen in real life, and this is supposed to be a realistic play, so that didn't work well. The play is not cheesy and you don't know what is going to happen every single second, but in this scene you just knew. I loved the banker character (Benjamin Magnuson) and thought it was a good choice to make him the music shop owner's (Evan Harrington's) enemy. At the end they became friends, and their fights were usually funny. One of the things I really liked about the music shop owner was how funny he was when he was trying to get Guy to get his hands of his "girlfriend." He was doing really weird karate moves.

I thought it was really nice how Girl lived with all of her friends and her family. She has kind of broken up with her husband, but her daughter (Kolette Tetlow) and and her mother (Donna Garner) are with her. Her friends are going to help in the band. Andrej (Alex Nee) represents how sometimes something can go bad, like not getting a promotion, but that playing music can help you cure your sadness. It is kind of sexist because there are no girls in the band except Girl, and after they record Eamon (John Steven Gardner) says "Good job, boys!" Réza (Claire Wellin) should be in the band, but she isn't. She can play violin and she can sing prettily and rockingly! But she is just cast away; her job is to seduce the weird karate guy. But I wanted her to be with them and doing the band.

I really liked when Švec (Matt DeAngelis), who is the friend of the Girl who lives with her, gets really hopped up on coffee when they are at the recording studio. I liked that because it was really funny because he talked about how he needed to go to a coffee shop and was jumping all over the place. That didn't make me think, "Oh, they're going to have the best recording session ever." But how it actually turned out was that they actually made great music, but he just was very loud.

They do "Falling Slowly," which is the main song, at the very end and it is very sad because they will probably never get to see each other again. Everybody was playing it so it was really nice; it made a great closing number. It is not just about sadness; it is about music and being happy when you are playing music. It makes you feel like they should be together because they love each other so much. You are glad that they are in love because they seem like a good match for each other because they both love music and they learn from each other. They have some fun together and they want to help each other.

People who would like this show are people who like music, romance, and hoovers. I think this show should be for ages 8 and up because there is some stuff that you might have to talk over if they were younger, and seven and six year olds don't really like romance. People should go see this show because it is funny but also sad and very musical. The music is really good; it is very beautiful music and it seems like they are singing what they actually feel.

Photos: Joan Marcus

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